In the first season of Boondocks, there was an episode called The Return of The King. The story was What Would Martin Luther King Do? This show was brilliant in all respects. Would a soft spoken, peace loving Christian that used Gandhi as a role model fit in with gansta rappers and Oprah’s favorite things? Well, not so much.
From time to time I talk about Micheal Vick, and when I do I get a few comments from people that believe with all their hearts that Vick is being persecuted for being a successful black man. I maintain that Vick is being persecuted for being a successful black man that was stupid enough to get caught fighting dogs. Race can’t be left out of the discussion. This is America, we love racism more than anything else our great country has ever invented.
Tiger Woods has been in the news because a pretty white woman thinks his fellow player should take him out and lynch him. Golfweek magazine thought this was so cool they put a noose on the front cover. The editor was surprised that people didn’t like this. Tiger Woods doesn’t seem to be too worried about it himself. That has pissed off a whole legion of other people that think he should be demanding firings and ranting and raving for the cameras about the horror of it all.
The 1960s are over, life such as it is, goes on. You can’t say niggardly-which means stingy-without there ensuing a race riot. The N Word is find, if your black, not so fine if your anything else. Government sanctioned racism, in the form voting taxes and Jim Crow laws and the like are all placed firmly in the history books. That Dream Martin Luther King had, has come to pass. But there are a lot of people, of all races, that don’t want to believe it. People still talk about ‘My People’ and ‘We were brought here’ and ‘You owe me.’
I’ll be honest, I can’t tell the difference between an Irishman and an Englishman by looking at them. But they have been merrily killing each other for a very long time. There are dozens of groups of idiots running around the Middle East that look exactly the same to me, but they have been killing each other for even longer than the English and the Irish. If we were all the same dull gray color, we would still find reasons to hate each other and get busy with the killings.
When I was a kid, I was much more interested in the half naked hippies in the park than in Martin Luther King. But I did get a weekly does of Social Studies on TV. All in the Family and The Jeffersons were great shows because they showed interesting people-people that openly hated each other- just like real people. TV shows now are all about the unity. Oh we can hate a ‘bad’ guy, but we can’t just look to see if he’s wearing a black hat to figure out that he’s a bad guy. I think this a good thing, as far as it goes. Maybe that’s why Boondocks is so shocking, it doesn’t pull any punches.
I wonder how Martin Luther King would feel about his name being in the middle of every poverty stricken neighborhood in America? In Dallas, MLK Blvd even goes so far as to cross Malcolm X. I suppose this might help remind us all that there is still work to be done. It’s just a question of what work and who should be doing it.
There was a pretty cool show on PBS a few years ago that had Martin Luther King and Malcolm X talking about how things were going. They were holed up in motel room with a flashing neon sign by the window. I only remember one line from the show, it was from Malcolm X-They had better kill me first, because they know what will happen if they kill you first. Of course, they did kill Malcolm first.
That was then and this is now. We don’t have a clear ‘they‘ any more, as much as we want one. Just remember the words of Rodney King, another famous black peacemaker: Why can we all just get along?